Gone Girl

[4.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Mrs. Salad and I might be the last people in the 48 contiguous United States to see Gone Girl. But we finally got around to watching this nasty little thriller. Currently rated #147 on IMDB's top 250 movies of all time. I don't think so, but it's still pretty good.

It leads off with the unexplained disappearance of Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), leaving hubby Nick (Ben Affleck) the natural suspect. But everything is not as it seems. Or maybe things are exactly as they seem. No spoilers here.

The Dunne's relationship is explored through flashbacks and Amy's narration through her diary. It's filled with dysfunction, dishonesty, and general sleazy behavior. But could it have led to murder most foul?

In addition, the unexplained disappearance of an attractive young woman leads to a media frenzy. Getting roped into the affair are Nick's twin sister Mo (Carrie Coon); a perceptive and diligent detective (Kim Dickens); a hotshot defense lawyer (Tyler Perry); Amy's parents (David Clennon and Lisa Banes); and Amy's pathetic ex-swain (Neil Patrick Harris). Everybody's good.

Last Modified 2015-05-24 9:31 PM EDT

The Phony Campaign

2015-05-24 Update

[phony baloney]

Our PredictWise lineup remains unchanged this week, and Jeb maintains his healthy phony lead on the field:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Jeb Bush" phony 1,050,000 -410,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 401,000 +19,000
"Rand Paul" phony 384,000 +222,000
"Marco Rubio" phony 106,000 -2,000
"Scott Walker" phony 102,000 +7,000
"Martin O'Malley" phony 99,200 -540,800
"Elizabeth Warren" phony 85,800 -4,200

But what are the phony stories behind those numbers?

  • The application to US Presidential politics is indirect, but I got a chuckle reading the incoherent leftist rant at Salon by one Andrew O'Hehir: "London as neoliberal theme park: The Platform 9 ¾ economy and the Tories’ shocking victory". In case you hadn't heard, you clueless Muggle, this is a reference to the London terminus of the Hogwarts Express at King's Cross station, from the Harry Potter books; it recently was granted a permanent home at the non-fictional station. O'Hehir is having none of it:

    Nothing quite so blatantly sums up the victory of neoliberalism in 21st-century London, and that city’s relentless commodification of every aspect of its literary and historical legacy, like Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross. If anything, the vulgarity and banality of Platform 9 ¾ are too blatant; it’s a crack in the façade that demonstrates how thoroughly London has become Londonland, a nearly convincing scavenger-hunt simulation of itself, chock-full of royal bones and references to Dan Brown novels. To enter Westminster Abbey – which is still nominally a house of worship for the Anglican Communion, rather than a historical theme park – now costs 44 pounds for a family of four, or about $68. (The Catholic Church has abundant problems, but it still has some pride; a few days later we visited Notre Dame in Paris, for free.)

    Andrew is pretty peeved not just about the Tory win, but also free-market capitalism in general, and just about everything he sees reminds him of the neoliberal menace. The American connection?

    Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush may yearn for smoochy photo-ops with Cameron in order to engage white America’s kneejerk Anglophilia, or because they swoon for his plummy Oxonian accent and long to meet his deep-pockets pals in the City of London. But if Cameron were American … well, it’s a useless thought experiment, because aristocratic, London-bred dudes like him – directly descended from the profoundly mediocre King William IV and distantly related to the current queen – are quintessentially not American. At any rate, Cameron is far too bland, far too internationalist and far too free of Jesus to be a viable Republican in any state south of New Hampshire, or in any era since about 1988.

    Nothing personal about Cameron, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be viable in New Hampshire either. (It's just a rumor that we keep electing Maggie Hassan because low-information voters confuse her with Maggie Thatcher.)

  • At MSNBC, Joe Scarborough mused on the hypothetical fate of a hypothetical Hillary campaign aide who might hypothetically suggest Hill take unscripted questions from the press:

    “That would be the aide’s last morning working for Hillary Clinton,” Scarborough said. “Have prepared text, have your phony town hall meetings with phony people and lobbyists. … They don’t have to talk to the press for a year.”

    For example…

  • Hillary visited our fair state and… immediately forgot where she was.

    Hillary Clinton misstated her location at a campaign event today in New Hampshire. Instead of saying New Hampshire, the presidential candidate said, "Here in Washington."

    Senile? Or, given that she was speaking at Smuttynose Brewery, surrounded by beer, perhaps just drunk?

    In any case, if she can't avoid making silly flubs in prepared remarks, it should be little surprise that she's desperately afraid of taking unscripted queries.

  • This week at least, Hillary's say-anything-to-win strategy translates into the tactic of sounding like a left-wing demagogue without actually taking any specific left-wing positions. Reporting from Smuttynose:

    On Friday in New Hampshire, Clinton spoke with a passionate, progressive voice, pounding away at Republicans for “jumping on the bandwagon” to kill the Export-Import Bank, whose authorization in Congress is set to expire June 30. It was a safe call, to say the least: House Democrats support the bank. Moderate Democrats such as Sen. Chuck Schumer support the bank. A liberal like Sen. Elizabeth Warren? She’s pro-bank, too.

    “It is wrong that Republicans in Congress are now trying to cut off this vital lifeline for American small businesses,” said Clinton, at the SmuttyNose Brewery in Hampton. Republicans, she said, would threaten the livelihoods of American workers rather than “stand up to the Tea Party and talk radio. It’s wrong, it’s embarrassing.”

    Hillary's claim that Ex-Im benefits small business is utter bullshit, unsupported by facts. (More, if you need it, here.) It speaks to the gullible dimwittedness of the reporter who detected a "passionate, progressive voice" raised in defense of that creaky New Deal-era monument to corrupt crony capitalism. (The reporter is slightly redeemed for noticing that this was an utterly "safe" position for Hillary to take.)

Last Modified 2015-05-24 9:33 PM EDT